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MLA serves up red meat inspiration to Qantas

15 August 2019

Inspiring new ways of using red meat on the menus of Australia’s largest airline was the focus of a recent workshop with Qantas, hosted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) in Sydney.

Team members from across MLA met with Qantas culinary team executives and chefs from celebrity chef and restaurateur Neil Perry’s consulting team, who create menu ideas for Qantas as part of the renowned chef’s partnership with the airline.

MLA Domestic Market Manager Graeme Yardy said with Qantas serving over 10 million meals a year, the workshop was a valuable opportunity to showcase the red meat industry’s credentials, demonstrate creative ways to use red meat, and ultimately drive increased usage on board Qantas flights.

“We highlighted our work across many parts of the business including traceability and biosecurity, livestock management, some of our research and development and marketing work, and talked about sustainability and the role we’re playing in the red meat industry’s target of being carbon neutral by 2030,” Graeme said.

“We also demonstrated the diversity of non-prime cuts to show that you don’t have to pay for premium cuts to get a great eating experience.

“There are a lot of logistical challenges to consider for in-flight catering. Menus are locked in nine months ahead of time, there isn’t a full working kitchen on-board and then there is the fact that we lose sensitivity to taste at altitude.

“Despite this, demand remains strong and red meat meals are a popular choice for Qantas passengers.

“A key challenge in keeping red meat on the menu is ensuring it is cost-effective and served in consistent portions. To help overcome that challenge, we talked about Meat Standards Australia (MSA) and the cut-by-cook method.

“MSA End User Training Facilitator Kelly Payne seamed out an MSA rump and MLA Corporate Butcher Doug Piper butchered a whole lamb carcase and they both went through a full range of cuts that perhaps hadn’t previously been considered, helping their cost of goods challenge.

“MLA Business Manager, Food Service and Corporate Chef Sam Burke and MLA Product Development Executive and Culinary Chef, Julie Ballard, prepared lunch using lesser-known beef and lamb non-prime cuts and really brought it all together at the end.

“Looking ahead, Qantas and Neil Perry Consulting have created a cross functional working group to work with MLA on increasing the usage of red meat across all classes of travel.”

Graeme said MLA had a number of synergies with Qantas it hoped to work together on.

“There is the potential to partner on Qantas’ 100th birthday celebrations in 2020, and leverage Australian Beef and Qantas sponsorships of the 2020 Australian Olympic and Paralympic teams.

MSA End User Training Facilitator Kelly Payne seaming out an MSA rump at the workshop.